Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 30, 2012 1:00pm-1:45pm EDT

1:00 pm
our and the american slave trade. she uses the paintings of a young british artist who visited a richmond slave auction in 1853 to illustrate how the work and had to the public reaction to the slave trade. this half-hour interview is a part of book tv college series. ..
1:01 pm
and saw an event he was in many ways and prepared for. he wondered down to richmond, virginia slave auction room and there be held at auction of humans for the first time. he became captivated by this subject invented another of @booktv number of images and published a number of drawings in the illustrative london news and ordered to help raise awareness about american slavery >> was the anti slavery? and abolitionists records of suspected he first came to america he was aware of the anti slavery movement and would have described himself as being opposed to slavery. but after coming here and what missing american slavery and what is in the slave auction he then later described himself as an abolitionist. he was not applied to the
1:02 pm
politically active abolitionists. it is not a member of any of these organizations that existed even after the end of british slavery, but he was writing and publishing images that in many ways or as import as the activism of those who were politically involved. >> host: wanted to come to the states? >> guest: it's one of those fun little stories of the 19th century. a british novelist who was second only to charles dickens in popularity, wonderfully beloved by americans was on a six month speaking tour. his father was a good friend, and so he invited his best friends years on to come along and services traveling companion and secretary. he was also at that point already a very highly trained artist. he was only in his early 20's. so as he went around traveling
1:03 pm
up and down the eastern seaboard he made reservations and traveled in it sure all the lodgings for taking care of, but he also sketched the whole way that he was traveling, and he differed "significantly on their impression of slavery in america . he decided that he was not calling to speak publicly of the topic because ten years earlier charles dickens had come to america and famously this korean-americans about slavery. and in his book he had a whole chapter against slavery. it hurt its sales in america after that. and so he remained mum on the topic. in his letters to five. >> host: commercial reasons. >> guest: commercial reasons. in his letters you also get a sense that he was pretty
1:04 pm
patrician into his views and did not exactly see it as all that bad and definitely not something that a british author. >> host: what is the painting of the front of your book? >> this is the company statement . it still was slaves waiting for sale. it was exhibited at the royal academy in 1861. that alone is a remarkable thing the royal academy, the premier institution for exhibiting works of art in the 19th century english speaking world was not typically a political institution. most of the works of art that were exempted from exhibition were expected to the not be too extreme in one way or another. don't go too far about a social stigma. don't be too far in being a artistically innovative.
1:05 pm
he pretty much had to find of the in order to be excepted. there had been very few pictures exhibited that the royal academy and it had. there had been some. there were certainly some over the preceding couple of decades, but not many and all. this was not just a picture of feature someone of african descent, but it was a clearly political statement opposed to american slavery. it one of those rather amazing coincidence is the history the exhibition opened the seventh eight to 61. the first shot said just been fired on fort sumter a few weeks previously. the exhibition opened all of what was the twitter about the war. of course there was also talking about what will the united kingdom should take in the
1:06 pm
american war. there were many very much in favor of supporting the confederate states of america because of the amount of money that permitted from american,. there were, of course, the a post of that as well. we all know that ultimately, but at that moment no one really knew what was clear to happen. >> host: where their sleeves and prepared let that time? >> guest: no. slavery had been abolished in britain and its colonies officially ending in 1838. so it had been a long time since britain had been directly involved with slivered. but britain was really the place where antislavery movements began. they remained quite involved after the ending of british slavery in trying to end the rest of world slavery. of course u.s. slavery was not the end of slavery in the world either. it continued in brazil, cuba
1:07 pm
until long after american slavery ended. >> host: professor maurie mcinnis, as an art historian or custard this painting. >> guest: what i try to do in the book is doing exactly that, to work viewers through the printing, to reconstruct the material world of the american slave trade that he would have seen when he visited the rich and slick firms on march 3rd 1853. i try to reconstruct what the experience would have been for african-americans who were caught up in the trade. in the decades between 18608 in the -- 1820 in 1860 its estimated three headed because the slaves were sold from the upper south, taken away from their families and those they loved as in the hundreds if not thousands of miles away to the booming, and south as of this book tries to tell
1:08 pm
the story of that experience for those individuals. what i was able to do and what is really kind of fun about the book is readers can go on a journey, starting at the hotel where he stayed in richmond where he will come up that morning, picked up their richmond is bigger and was astonished to see advertised fare in the upper corner, people for sale. it was something he never experienced before. richmond was the first southern city you visited. he was punched because when he was in new york city he had bought a copy of harriet beecher stowe's uncle tom's cabin that had just been released at the end of 1852. he read the novel and writes that he was heralded by its content. it horrified him, the story of american slavery, and he was particularly attracted to the
1:09 pm
slave trade. the commercial aspect of slavery , the selling of humans from one to another. and he was determined when he got to a southern city to witness this aspect of savory himself. on the first morning he opens the newspaper at his hotel and seize their several advertisements for the auction of slaves. he asks somebody working of the hotel who was probably an enslavement himself ready sales were located, just a few blocks away from his hotel, just a few blocks away from thomas jefferson's virginia state capitol building, this great symbolic image of representational democracy. three blocks away people were being sold day in and day out every day six days a week 52 week year. most of them were sent to place
1:10 pm
the south. so the reader can go on the same journey. i did research. ♪ and commercial directories and so forth in order to reconstruct what businesses it would have walked past to understand where the slave trade to place and where was in relation to the city's other businesses and industries, retail establishments, churches, civic institutions and state buildings none of them are very far removed, and yet the slave trade was tucked away. it was not a district you would go to lsu had reason to go there. >> host: why is that? >> guest: it was not a part of richmond's commerce. there were not ashamed, but there were not particularly proud. virginia is a slave economy was not a growing economy. it was a stagnating economy. virginias agricultural economy was not a growing economy.
1:11 pm
in many ways there were not new slaves it in virginia and maryland and north carolina. were they were needed or in the new common lands of the southwest. and so and over quite often might have what he considered excess capacity, and so he would sell off one or two slaves here. almost always picking up their lawyers because was sold were people aged 15-30 years. answer that usually meant breaking up families, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters for mothers and fathers and their children. there would be sent sent richmond, a little bit of a gathering place. most of the slaves were purchased by slave owners but by other slave traders who then would take in hundreds of miles away, the merchant of overland it will work called couples were the men would be chained together.
1:12 pm
the women usually not changed and marching at the back of the group. sometimes there would work as far as for richmond to new ones. as the real root system grew more complete by the 1850's it was more common for slaves to be sent by road. and it would be sold again. new orleans, slave owners at the port. put to work on the continent sugar fields. >> host: the going price. >> guest: it very and continue to increase. one of the things that we know is that there is a market that divided people into categories. and so the number of dealers have these things they called press sheets. these spreadsheets listed categories, prime income of number one men, boys, 4-foot three and above. ploy's 4 feet and above. similar categories for women. in the prices varied parts significantly.
1:13 pm
most private or mailed it -- male field hands, usually age is good teen-30. older or younger slaves going for that, but you could imagine in the going rate on average of $0,000 a less for most of the 1850's to do what how did he do his work? did he stay in place for this? >> guest: this great story goes along with this. tells us the story of working into the first auction room and being stunned by what he saw. his sense of worth sailed, the smell, the site, the sound, the emotion of the slaves he witnessed as it were being sold away. and he just stood there in silence stunned. with up to the second row, then the third.
1:14 pm
there he sees a group of slaves before the sale seated on benches of to the side of the room awaiting their fate in not knowing what. moved by this group of individuals that he hastily sketched out pennant paper. as it was first making the scene everybody was kind of interested in what he was doing. they crowded around him. at that time the sale was supposed to commence. trying to get attention for the sale. the audience is much more interested in what crew was doing. and so the sale does not proceed in the auction there comes down and asks, what are you about. he says, i am stretching. the auction returns and tries again. not able to attract the attention of the audience. another question, another
1:15 pm
somewhat snappy remark. the auctioneer returns. by the third time he is selling three he realizes he better get out of there. so he leaves the auction room and hides away in another room hoping that there will forget about him when he leaves the room he sees the entire audience, the auctioneer and all the people in the slave auction room coming to give him. as reports because he knew he was an abolitionist. a young new yorker publishes an account of the 70 york newspaper about a week later car riding of that sale, an artist. at first everybody very interested until they realize what he is sketching. you would not sketch a slave auction unless you were opposed to slavery, unless you were an abolitionist, and he, too, was surprised that crowe was able to get away without harm. >> what other slave markets?
1:16 pm
>> the only other major southern city he went to work two, charleston and savannah. in charleston the slave auction and the slave trade occupied a very different place, much more public thing. south carolina was certainly one of the los proslavery states and the union, and that was really hit it charleston. many pro seven -- press delivery of the steward from south carolina, there were very public about their slave trade. it took place in one of the largest open squares in the city right in the center of their commercial district. >> host: considered an activity for families. >> guest: it was the daily spectacle. every day of 11:00 a.m. near what we today would call the colonial exchange building in charleston right at the foot of broad street and east pastry of what was then the post office, a major gathering place to every
1:17 pm
day at 11:00 a.m. although auctions to place. slave traders would bring slaves for auction before taking them back to the buildings in which there were held. there were held outside until 1856 when a city ordinance moved indoors that because they were ashamed of the because it was blocking traffic and interfere with commercial enterprise. >> host: did he become aware of the picture because particularly this original painting but the other paintings? >> guest: actually, not at all. his work was known in britain. his painting is exhibited in the royal academy. his publication, his publications of images and drawings were published in the illustrated london news which was not widely read by the elite intellectuals but would not have been broadly no. this was a topic that could not have been exhibited in an american exhibition all.
1:18 pm
>> guest: even in the north. >> guest: even in the north. there is still a very strong pro seven fragment in new york. because of the amount of money that they york is making kayseven sympathizers. maybe in boston where they had a heart. maybe you could have exhibited something similar to that there. it would have been a very difficult thing. an artist had to worry about the market. an american artist did not paint a subject as difficult as this. they rarely even touched upon the subject of slavery prior to the civil war because they did not wish to offend what it would have described as their seventh customers. >> host: did their bit, a genre of abolitionist art? >> guest: there is an enormous amount. that's just above the book tries
1:19 pm
to trace, a particular story of talking about how an abolitionist imagery, we get to the topic of the slave auction. by the 1850's it was the new subject and anti slavery imagery, the most famous early anti slavery images. beckham of the earliest image is one that shows the international slave trade. it was an image produced in britain in 1797 that shows the plans and sections of the slave ship with hundreds of african but this next to each other that were trying to demonstrate the horrors of the international sled trade. that was an image that remained famous for decades and is still very much an iconographic image today. i try to trace the evolution from that image which did talk about the trade but still with people and anonymously. there were hundreds of identical bodies lying next to each other
1:20 pm
in that ship. by the time we get to eric crow you have a focus on people who have emotions into our part of families that are being broken apart. there is a long evolution of imagery in between that is that movement from treating slaves some different -- really radical but the image and why it attracted the attention of critics even though he was a young and unknown artist. it was a new image. it did not share the theater of the auction that had become quite common. it was not the auctioneer of the auction block with his hand raised above his head and the gavel in his hand in the theater of going to which became quite well the of and rehearsed. because it was so well known and rehearsed, in many ways it lost a lot of its meeting, but what he does a shift that moment to
1:21 pm
moment before the auction, the moment when people are sitting there pondering with rates, pondering what awaits them. it is that emotional impact that he's able to put forth in the pending the really brought it to the attention of critics. >> host: win for the first time for his paintings displayed in the u.s.? >> guest: 20th-century. this painting history is of no. from its last of exhibition in 1861 until it was sold to an american collector in the 1950's we don't know what happened to it in between. it was steadily a picture of the low bid. once slavery in did there was a missed interest in the subject. >> host: who owns it today? >> guest: it is owned by
1:22 pm
teresa heinz. a major collector of american art. the family has a very important collection, including this picture. >> host: tuna who bought it in the 50's? said the shoot. >> guest: it was the ides family. i teach a range of history the texas from the renaissance to the present to more specialized class is on american art. >> host: your an art historian. we have been talking about slavery. what can we learn to the study of heart? >> guest: what we can learn, multiple things, and this book tries to tell those two stories. one of those is the world in which images are received. to understand about the background that informs those images but then to also understand the impact that those images have on others. throughout the anti slavery movement, images play a major
1:23 pm
role in shaping the way that people understand into slivers into the. sometimes it is that singular image that makes an abstract concept of very personal one and a very individual one. we find throughout the history of abolitionism that image is often help to move the conversation in a very important ways. in the same way that works of fiction do. uncle tom's cabin had an enormous impact on the anti slavery movement in the way that decades of writing pamphlets about the words of american slavery had not yet reached a wide audience. with the combination of a uncle tom's cabin which is, of course, illustrated. that combination of telling stories through pictures that helped spread anti slavery sentiment to a much wider audience. >> host: when did the art of
1:24 pm
photography become an issue, especially given the topic that we are talking about, slavery and abolition. >> guest: it only begins to play a role in the u.s. civil war as a federal troops begin to occupy southern cities it was none at all uncommon for them to photograph sites of slave auctions, although not as many as i wish they had because these buildings are mostly lost to us. will we know we now mostly through documentary evidence or photographic other things related to the history of slavery. but the more often photographed in things related specifically to the war, so that evidence is really. >> can't. >> host: the people are interested in seeing some of the part that is available, where we recommend they go? >> guest: there is enormous amount on line. the vast majority of anti slavery imagery was produced for publication. it was produced for anti slavery almanacs, anti slavery peplos,
1:25 pm
books published by former slaves before the civil war. almost all of those works are illustrative works. whether it is into global export a variety of libraries that are digitizing their 19th century collections, a lot of that work is available on my. >> host: what about a museum. >> guest: this is still in private hands. so it is not daily on public view. i am working on exhibition to be held of the library of virginia that is -- at least the working title is to be sold. we are quite hopeful that we will have that painting as well as the other surviving paintings
1:26 pm
both at the exhibition, and so that will be in richmond at the library of virginia in 2014. the other surviving paintings is owned by the chicago history museum. that collected rather broadly in materials related to the civil war because of their interest of lincoln in part and in part because in the time after the civil war in chicago where there was an exhibition, u.s. civil war museum that exhibited dozens, hundreds of artifacts collected throughout the american south of the of the war to tell the story of the civil war, obviously one of the most important chapters of the story is telling the story of u.s. leverage. >> host: to surviving paintings. >> guest: of slavery. dozens of paintings in britain, but other than this brief time from his trip in 1853 tel 1861 when he painted this, his last picture and u.s. slavery, in
1:27 pm
that span he painted a number of works, most of which are now lost. after that he returned to his bread-and-butter of painting british literary historical scenes, scenes of dryden and shakespeare and people like that as well as british share underpaintings. >> host: have you seen either of the two surviving paintings. >> yes. as big a lot of time with both of them. i began with very close examination of the work of art. the work of art is a document, a text that tells us much. it is in setting the details of the paintings that you begin to ask questions such as the clothes that they're wearing. wondering, was that what they're wearing on that date. with more documentary research to be able to learn that in fact yes / were dressed for sale, just very well for sale in order to of wipe away the harshness and the brutality of life history and to make them seem more appealing to potential
1:28 pm
buyers. if you look closely at the painting you notice things like the green ribbon that the employee in the painting is grasping in his hand. there is no real explanation in the painting. there is no woman in that image wearing a green ribbon. so i speculate that it might be the green ribbon that he took from his mother or his sister as a memory of that individual because, of course, now being wrapped up in the american slave trade in as it is likely he will ever see a person again. so it begins with cross-examination of the picture , asking questions, and turning to other sources to see what you can do to answer those questions. >> host: what do you see in the actual painting that we don't see here in the reproduction of the cover of your book? >> guest: the cover of the book leaves out a significant portion of the painting. there are two sides that extend beyond. the book is talk about the painting is wide.
1:29 pm
on the right hand side is a male slave ceded all alone. and what is so remarkable about the image of that male slave is he is not depicted as decades of men of african descent have been depicted. he is not happy, not sitting there with christian resignation awaiting his fate, as michael tomtit throughout the story. he is angry. his fest is clenched to leaving for. the look of his face is clearly in solid, solid, angry. the kurdish -- the critics that is that. there has never been an angry man of african descent on the walls of the royal academy. that was the political sort of radical this, that little bit of truth abolitionism coming out because he was a slave who could
1:30 pm
at any moment rebel, run away, and resist with force if necessary. so that very important detail unfortunately does not fit on the cover of the book. on the left inside are white men entering into the room of the slave auction. and they are potential buyers. and they are of different types. it probably represents a slave trader demand may be a slave owner purchasing for himself. and so they complete that story that he was trying to tell of the uncertain fate that awaits not only of these individuals seated in this richmond hill's room on this one day in richmond, but the thousands who passed through there annually and the hundreds of thousands who passed through the slave trade over the decades in the american south.
1:31 pm
and in its own way, by not answering that question, not giving as resolution, we don't know what fate these people will face. at that moment, nobody knew the fate of the war. it was really a picture that perfectly captured this moment to of uncertainty for everybody involved. >> host: who are some of the other abolitionist artists? >> guest: very few. most artists stayed away from such political topics. j. m. w. turner famously exhibited a painting that we know in short as the slave ship in the royal academy in 1840, and it is the work that today, i think, most captured the anguish and pain of the international slave trade. it shows a very small chip --
1:32 pm
ship of a storm tossed sleeve and a leg of one slave sticking up. lots of fish swimming around. clear that the slave has been thrown overboard being consumed by the fish and/or sharks in the city. it strikes a very modern tone because it is not didactic in its content. it allowed the emotion of paintbrush, brushwork, and color to tell a story instead of the more narrative approach that somebody took, one that was very much in accordance with 19th century victorian story telling. a very different from the more modern sensibility of turner and why today we know tears pointing best. >> host: you have another picture in your book of a couple of african american male slaves
1:33 pm
escaping attacking box the to that picture , a very famous, what it would have called animal artist. the most famous one of those being let's hear. he mostly painted animals, dogs, horses, steer to my dear, stag, except. this painting is really the only when he did that touched on the topic of slavery. what he shows are to slaves ased by very large stocks.eing the swap is made very swampy by the very obvious inclusion of the stake in the foreground. it was exhibited at that same 1861 exhibition, and so you have this great moment where you can compare the response of critics to these two paintings, and they talked about both of them given the timing of the opening of the u.s. civil war.
1:34 pm
and they very much preferred crows painting. it describes the painting as a fit of studio roomettes. they knew that crowe had been to america. very well-known. he published as a journalist. they knew from that it was a small world. they knew he had been in america, and so they saw in his work truth. never been to the u.s. and so had never witnessed a slavery. they saw his work as more dramatic and as they say, a bit of studio romance. a beautiful picture. two versions of it. one of them owned by the liverpool museum. liverpool, of course, played such an important role in the international slave trade that they had museums about slavery in liverpool, and so that painting is there. the second version was recently purchased by the new smithsonian
1:35 pm
museum of african american history and culture. so i assume when that museum is built and opened the painting will be on view in washington. >> host: of course it is a couple. when did you get interested in this topic? >> guest: i have long written about the history of the american south in the 18th and 19th century. i teach your at the university of virginia. history is all-around this. and i have long been teaching about subjects that relate to slavery. i have been teaching this painting by eric carle four years and have always been intrigued by it, thinking that there is a story there waiting for us to rediscover. so it is a project to begin working on in 2006 and recently came out. >> host: here at book expo america, the book publishing industry annual convention in new york city, we are joined by
1:36 pm
chairman and president of the norton company. what to test you about some of the books that borden has coming out this fall, 2012. of going to start with this one right behind us. >> absolutely. a very scary book about a very important subject. this is what happens. humans are moving deeper and deeper into the hinterland. as they do so we are getting a lot more animal diseases that are being transported over to the human population. it is not just aids and the bullets anymore. other kinds of diseases you have not heard of. david has been out studying a round the world. bats, keys to the guerrillas. a wonderful writer. i don't know if you know his books on of the doe. this is going to be a very exciting book for us. >> host: is this also happening in the u.s. or in other nations? >> guest: this is a worldwide phenomenon.
1:37 pm
with people all around the world, now you know diseases' move very quickly. >> host: i also wanted to ask you about the last refuge, and other brick that is coming out. >> sure. so if you want to understand terrorism you probably need to understand human. live there for a long time, on the ground, speaks the language. he has trained our ambassadors going over to yemen. this is up poor country that, as most people know, is a very big source for terrorism. it is a country wants to know about. >> host: and david. >> guest: a book called the 14th day. we are publishing that into an anniversary, october 2012 is going to be an anniversary for the -- the 50th anniversary for the cuban missile crisis. everybody knows the book, the 13th state.
1:38 pm
david's question is how about the 14th day, how about the date of the cuban missile crisis. a book really from the presidential page project of the university of virginia village center. transcripts from the kennedy white house about how kennedy managed the outcome for making sure that the missiles really were removed from cuba to managing congress and the results of the crisis. >> host: what is mr. coleman's '? >> guest: at the university of virginia history department and that bill is centered. >> host: how long have you been with norton? >> guest: okay. i started right out of college. i have been running the place for the last 18 years and chairman since 2000. >> host: when it comes to e-books what is to protect revenue wise?
1:39 pm
>> guest: sales, we were tracking about 21% e-book. that is about industry average. some are seen much higher figures. certainly when we look at fiction sales but an individual title we saw over 50 percent. >> host: 50% and more. >> guest: we will plateau and it could very well be at the 50% range. the interesting thing is that we will plateau. i am not looking ahead to the death of the printed book. a lot of people enjoy reading books. >> host: what is another trend in publishing that we should be looking for in the next triple of years? >> guest: that is interesting. i would save, i watch the growth
1:40 pm
of the huge conglomerates, but i also watch what is happening with independent publishing houses. i like the fact that there is more access to the marketplace to iran that think that's going to be a very healthy thing not only for norton, but for lots of smaller independents. founded the firm in 1923. eighty-nine years old at this point. he had been in the import and export business. he and his wife, deeply involved in the founding of the firm, passion for books. began as an abdication. he listed in the import export business by date. three years later he was doing it full time. the rest is history. >> host: you just revived and 1920's imprint. >> guest: we have. a very excited initiative. we have done that in print since
1:41 pm
the early 1970's. there are the publishers of the e cummings, first publishers of faulkner, first publishers in the united states of our estimate wait. the list goes on and on as the creative publishing. the firm went bankrupt in the her early 30's 1970's to the wonderful energy but my colleague. we have no revived the imprint, published the book. two of the very first books on the revived live right. >> host: you're watching book tv on c-span2. we are in new york city. we have been watching it -- talking with the chairman and president of the norton company. >> all this week c-span has brought you live gavel-to-gavel coverage of this year's republican national convention in tampa, florida. this is the final session among the speakers theater went -- in
1:42 pm
the meantime, you're on c-span2 to ms. book tv all day every day throughout the conventions withf nonfiction authors and books from this past year. and on c-span three throughout the convention 24 hours of american history tv with lectures tomorrow histories, and a look at historical american sites and artifacts. browse the rare books collection at ohio state university. >> ulysses was originally published between the 1918 and 1920. an american periodical. we have copies of all those as
1:43 pm
well. the reason i brought these out is not so much to show you this first edition, but to show you a later edition that is extremely rare. 1921, the american government declared ulysses obscene and pornographic. the book was banned. people still wanted to read it, and we actually have a copy of one of the additions. if you notice the spines, alice in wonderland and the little minister. >> to route the weekend and saturday at noon eastern literary life in columbus ohio with book tv and c-span local content vehicles on c-span2. >> john kennedy once met with harold macmillan, the british prime minister and the repertoires of the day in newspapers that discussed arms control or whenever issues between the two powers. they sure did, but only long after words did we get the notes on what they said exactly to
1:44 pm
each other in private. it turned out that kennedy spent a lot of the time complaining about bad press coverage. the press was being tough on jackie and other things. a generation older, why you care. pressure off. as a matter. you have other things to worry about. he quite heatedly said, that's easy for you to say. how would you like it if the press send your wife was a drug. mcmillan replied to my was simply say, you should have seen her mother. [laughter] the kind of thing that later on, a fun thing to give you an idea of what these people are like that you just can't live in real time. >> historians and biographers use the advantage of hindsight to understand their subjects through a prism of time sunday your questions to mccall's, e-mails, and treats for presidential historian on the lives of presidents and wars, and cold. in depth at noon eastern on


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on